ValueSpeak
A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker

THE GREAT DIET RACE

††††† At present there seems to be some significant difference of opinion as to whose idea The Great Diet Race actually was.

††††† Anita insists that it was my idea that she and I should race to see which of us could be the first to lose 15 pounds.And it is entirely possible that words to that effect did come out of my mouth.But that doesnít necessarily mean that the idea was really mine.I know this is going to sound weird, but my wife can do this mind control thing that makes me say and do things that I normally wouldnít say or do.

ďOf course Iíd rather go grocery shopping with you than stay home to relax and watch a football game.Ē

ďYes, letís go power-walking so I can once again enjoy the painful burning in my lungs that happens every time I go out there and try to keep up with you.Ē

ďThereís nothing Iíd rather do than go to the store to purchase feminine hygiene products.Ē

These things pop out of my mouth without being routed through my brain.I donít know how she does it.I never see her wave her fingers at me like Obi-Wan Kenobe does when he uses the Force to make feeble-minded storm troopers say and do stuff.Which suggests either that Anita is more forceful than the Force, or Iím more feeble-minded than a storm trooper.

Take your pick.

But psychic manipulation or not, I was pretty confident that I could drop 15 pounds before Anita did.For one thing, Iím male, and it is common knowledge that men lose weight easier and faster than women.I donít know if this has anything to do with that extra chromosome, or if testosterone simply melts faster than estrogen.Itís just one of those immutable facts of the universe, like gravity, relativity and the home court advantage.

For another thing, I have sequencing in my favor.The 15 pounds I need to lose are just the first of many 15-pound increments that should be shed.For Anita, these will be the last 15 pounds that she needs to lose.Everyone who has ever been on a diet knows that the first 15 pounds are easy Ė itís the last 15 pounds that are tough.So Iím thinking The Great Diet Race should be a piece of cake for me.

As long as I donít eat the cake.

Unfortunately, I didnít take two things into account.One, Anita has an incredible amount of self-control.And two, I donít.When she gets hungry late at night she drinks a big glass of water and goes to bed.When I get hungry late at night I drink a big glass of Diet Dr Pepper (but only because it goes so much better with that big plate of late night nachos I just fixed) and sit down to watch TV.And of course, after all those nachos, youíve got to have a cookie or two, which is OK, because Iím drinking diet soda.Right?

Still, I was feeling pretty confident as the moment of our first weekly weigh-in approached.I had only eaten an apple late the previous evening, and I had almost actually jogged a little while crossing a street during our early morning walk.I was feeling fit and energetic and definitely lighter as we approached the scale.Anita weighed first, and I congratulated her for the two pounds she had lost during the week.

Yeah, right.Two measly pounds.I felt kind of bad for her.Two pounds wasnít much to show for all of her hard work and conscientious dieting.I hoped she wouldnít be too discouraged when I stepped on the scale and she saw that I had . . . GAINED TWO POUNDS???

Whoís idea was this race, anyway?

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ó © Joseph Walker

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